BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó




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                                   THIRD READING 


          Bill No:  AB 995
          Author:   Bigelow (R) 
          Amended:  6/30/16 in Senate
          Vote:     21 

           SENATE TRANS. & HOUSING COMMITTEE:  11-0, 6/28/16
           AYES:  Beall, Cannella, Allen, Bates, Gaines, Galgiani, Leyva,  
            McGuire, Mendoza, Roth, Wieckowski

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE:  Senate Rule 28.8

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  74-0, 5/22/15 (Consent) - See last page for  
            vote

           SUBJECT:   Farm vehicles:  registration exemptions


          SOURCE:    Author


          DIGEST:  This bill creates a pilot program that exempts certain  
          agricultural vehicles from registration.
          
          ANALYSIS:  

          Existing law:

          1)Requires vehicles driven upon a highway to be registered with  
            the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and imposes  
            registration fees related to the use and/or size of the  
            vehicle.

          2)Defines implements of husbandry as vehicles that are used  
            exclusively in the conduct of agricultural operations, and  
            exempts from registration those that are only incidentally  








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            operated or moved over a highway.

          3)Specifies that any vehicle may be considered an implement of  
            husbandry if it is operated on highways only for the purpose  
            of transporting agricultural products and is not operated on a  
            highway for a total distance greater than one mile from the  
            point of origin of the trip.

          4)Provides that the certain types of farm vehicles, as  
            specified, may obtain a special identification plate, and  
            exempts these vehicles from registration.

          5)Specifies that farm vehicles are subject to all equipment and  
            device requirements as if they are registered.

          6)Requires motor carriers of property to obtain a motor-carrier  
            permit from the DMV. In order to obtain a permit, the carrier  
            must:

             a)   Show proof that it has met applicable requirements  
               related to insurance and workers' compensation.

             b)   Obtain a carrier identification number from the  
               California Highway Patrol (CHP).

             c)   Comply with the requirements of the Basic Inspection of  
               Terminals (BIT) program, if applicable.

             d)   Pay the appropriate permit fees, as specified.

          1)Establishes a pull-notice system to notify employers of any  
            current public records that are relevant to the driving  
            privileges of an employee engaged as a vehicle driver.

          This bill:

          1)Establishes a pilot program with a sunset date of January 1,  
            2020, limited to the County of Fresno, that exempts certain  
            agricultural vehicles from registration under the following  
            conditions:

             a)   The vehicle must be designed and used exclusively for  








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               carrying, or returning from carrying, agricultural or  
               farming products.

             b)   The vehicle must be used on a highway only to travel  
               between farms or between parts of a farm, for a distance of  
               no more than 20 air miles.

             c)   Operation on the highway must be incidental to a farming  
               operation and not for hire or compensation.

             d)   The vehicle must qualify for and display a special  
               identification plate.

             e)   The user of the vehicle must obtain a motor-carrier  
               permit from the DMV and a carrier identification number  
               from the CHP.

             f)   The user of the vehicle must conduct regular inspections  
               and maintenance on the vehicle, as specified in existing  
               law, and submit to inspections under the BIT program.
                
              g)   Employers participating in the program must enroll all  
               drivers in the DMV pull-notice system, including owners or  
               family members who drive a participating vehicle.
             
           1)Requires the CHP and the DMV to report to the Legislature on  
            the status and effectiveness of the pilot program on or before  
            July 1, 2018.  The CHP and the DMV would be required to  
            include in the report:

             a)   A description of the number of vehicles enrolled.

             b)   An evaluation of the loss of registration funding  
               attributable to the program.

             c)   A description of collisions involving vehicles enrolled,  
               enforcement issues, and safety issues.

          Comments
          
          1)Purpose.  The author states that farmers need flexibility in  
            the distance that their vehicles can travel while hauling  








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            agricultural products.  Currently, farm vehicles that  
            transport agricultural products can only maintain their  
            classification as an implement of husbandry, and the  
            associated exemption from registration requirements, if they  
            operate on California roads for less than one mile.  According  
            to Fresno County farmers, however, field locations can vary  
            from year to year, and they are often farther than one mile  
            away from processing and packaging facilities.  Consequently,  
            vehicles that haul agricultural products on public roads for  
            short distances are ineligible for the registration exemption  
            in current law.
          2)Existing law and registration exemptions.  Vehicles that are  
            operated on farms and that are only incidentally driven on  
            highways, for no more than a mile, are currently exempt from  
            registration requirements.  While use of farm vehicles on  
            highways is generally restricted to protect the safety of the  
            traveling public, existing law also exempts from registration  
            requirements and commercial vehicle safety requirements a  
            number of farm vehicles that are operated on highways beyond  
            the typical one-mile limit.  The law provides varying  
            allowances for these vehicles, depending on their type.  For  
            example, melon trucks are exempt from registration and allowed  
            to travel up to two miles on highways, while trucks carrying  
            livestock feed (silage) are exempt and allowed to travel up to  
            20 miles on highways.

          3)What registration provides.  This bill exempts certain  
            agricultural vehicles from registration. Traditionally,  
            vehicle registration provides an avenue for inspection, and  
            registration holds are an effective means for bringing parties  
            into compliance and are critical to other enforcement programs  
            (e.g., the Air Resources Board Truck and Bus Regulation  
            programs, which require diesel trucks and buses that operate  
            in California to be upgraded or replaced in order to reduce  
            emissions). 

          4)Heavy loads.  Overweight trucks can damage infrastructure.   
            Regulations on the operation of commercial vehicles - often  
            enforced at the time of registration - help to mitigate wear  
            and tear that these vehicles can cause to roads by ensuring  
            that weight limits are not exceeded and that heavy vehicles  
            pay a proportionate share.








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          5)Not exempt from everything.  This bill differs from other  
            recent attempts to relieve certain agricultural vehicles of  
            registration requirements in one particularly important way.   
            It explicitly requires participants in the pilot program to  
            enroll in other programs that provide safeguards against  
            dangerous vehicles and drivers and poor professional  
            practices. These include the following:

             a)   The Motor Carrier Program.  A motor-carrier permit is a  
               document issued by the DMV's Registration Operations  
               Division.  The permit is evidence that the motor carrier  
               has obtained a carrier identification number from the CHP  
               and registered that number with the DMV.  The permit  
               additionally verifies that the motor carrier has met all of  
               the statutory requirements to commercially operate motor  
               vehicles on California's highways, including obtaining  
               appropriate insurance and workers' compensation coverage,  
               and paying permit fees. 

             b)   The BIT Program.  In 1988, the Legislature enacted the  
               California Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act, which  
               established the BIT Program, in an effort to alleviate the  
               growing number of truck-related collisions on California's  
               highways.  Primarily, the intent is to ensure every truck  
               terminal throughout the state is inspected by the CHP on a  
               regular basis, thereby creating a level field for all motor  
               carriers statewide.  

             c)   The pull-notice program.  California's pull-notice  
               system provides employers with their drivers' public  
               driving record, which includes any accidents, citations,  
               and license suspensions.  An employer who receives a report  
               on a driver whose license has been suspended or revoked  
               must discontinue employment.  The purpose of this program  
               is to protect the public from the most unsafe drivers by  
               preventing them from carrying passengers. 

             d)   Special identification plates. Certain types of special  
               equipment are eligible for special plates. Each plate is  
               required to have a unique number, allowing for  
               identification of the vehicle, and must be renewed every  








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               five years.

          6)Current exemptions will not be affected. The proposed program  
            would not impact farm vehicles that currently qualify for a  
            special identification plate because they travel on highways  
            for distances no greater than one mile.

          7)Overhaul in policy committee.  This bill was significantly  
            amended in the Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing  
            as a result of discussions among a broad group of  
            stakeholders.  While the pilot program in this version of the  
            bill and the policy proposal it replaces attempt to address  
            the same need, they represent two substantively different  
            approaches to resolving farmers' concerns.  No support or  
            opposition has been received on this current version of the  
            bill.


          FISCAL EFFECT: Appropriation:      No          Fiscal  
          Com.:YesLocal:   Yes


          SUPPORT:   (Verified8/3/16)




          None received




          OPPOSITION:   (Verified8/3/16)




          None received



          ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  74-0, 5/22/15








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                                                                     Page 7



          AYES:  Achadjian, Travis Allen, Baker, Bigelow, Bloom, Bonilla,  
            Bonta, Brough, Brown, Burke, Calderon, Campos, Chang, Chau,  
            Chávez, Chiu, Chu, Cooley, Cooper, Dababneh, Dahle, Daly,  
            Dodd, Eggman, Frazier, Beth Gaines, Gallagher, Cristina  
            Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gatto, Gipson, Gomez, Gonzalez,  
            Gordon, Gray, Grove, Hadley, Harper, Roger Hernández, Holden,  
            Irwin, Jones-Sawyer, Kim, Lackey, Levine, Linder, Lopez, Low,  
            Maienschein, Mathis, Mayes, McCarty, Medina, Melendez, Mullin,  
            Nazarian, Obernolte, Patterson, Perea, Quirk, Rendon,  
            Ridley-Thomas, Rodriguez, Salas, Santiago, Steinorth, Mark  
            Stone, Thurmond, Ting, Wagner, Wilk, Williams, Wood, Atkins
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Alejo, Jones, O'Donnell, Olsen, Waldron,  
            Weber

          Prepared by:Sarah Carvill / T. & H. / (916) 651-4121
          8/3/16 18:45:36


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